One in five families is affected by a serious mental illness, and it can be very difficult for family members to learn how to understand and cope with their loved one's condition. That's why a national organization has been a real gift to millions. It's called the National Alliance for Mental Illness, or NAMI for short.
Mental illness includes bi-polar disorder or manic depression, obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, panic disorder and major depression. Research reveals that mental illnesses are actually a disorder of the brain, and with proper treatment, the success rate is over 60%. Although NAMI doesn't diagnose or treat, it does offer support, education, research, and advocacy. It even confronts discrimination issues, and it provides referrals.
"People with mental disorders are intelligent, creative, just as Melissa is just wonderful. Many of them are. They just have this illness, and we would like people to understand. We don't have to be ashamed of it," says Jan McVey, a NAMI officer.
NAMI has over 1,200 affiliates in all 50 states. If you'd like more information about the NAMI chapter here in Lubbock, you can call (806) 783-9268. That number will put you in touch with Dr. David Gibson who is the local chapter president.
The National NAMI information hotline is 1-888-999-NAMI, or you can (click here) for more information.